Harold's Club was a major casino in Reno, Nevada from the 1930's through the 1990's. The club has been gone for many years now, but in its heyday, the casino easily outpaced every other casino in Nevada, as chronicled in The Roots of Reno There isn't much left to commemorate it in Reno, but there are still plenty of players around that made Harold's Club a regular stop when they came to Reno.
Since its beginning on a cold winter evening in 1935, the casino grew every year in size and/or revenue for over 25-years. That alone sets it apart from most casinos in the world.
The doors to the small 25-foot wide gaming parlor opened at seven o'clock on February 23rd and Harold looked anxiously up and down Virginia Street, hoping to capture a few players for the new club. The casino didn't have much to offer, just two slot machines, one nickel and one dime, and a large roulette wheel called a "flasher."
The wheel was suspended from the ceiling with a huge mirror so players could see the action and make bets on their own layouts. With space for up to 43 players, the casino was ready for action - it just needed some players.
Eventually, a few gamblers dropped in out of the windy evening and started making penny bets. By 9:00 several dozen players who had given the new joint a toss, and while revenues were not great, they did exist.
According to the book Nevada's Golden Age of Gambling, within a year, Harold S. Smith, Sr. and his father, Raymond I. "Pappy" Smith were in the black, and had added a 21 table and a crap game. Increasing revenues allowed the club to do a little advertising and they began distributing free promotional ashtrays and matches to diners and gas stations up and down the coast of Oregon and California.